Q&A: Dwight Howard

Posted by Unknown on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Sam Amick 

Q: How's the offseason treating you?

A: "It's been decent, just trying to keep my mind off those 0.9 seconds that seemed to be two seconds instead of 
0.9. That (Lillard shot) is probably going to stick with me all summer. I mean every time I work out I just think about that, and how tough it is in the playoffs. Just thinking about everything, really wanting to get to the Finals again.

Q: It's obviously not about the individual aspect in the playoffs, but did you take any solace in the fact that you played so well?

A: "Well I've just got to do that for 82 games … I need to set the tone early in the season and keep it going, and take it to another notch. That's what I've been talking about all summer with the coaches and everybody. That's the plan.

Q: So look back a bit for me. It's been almost a year since you left L.A. and headed for Texas. How do you reflect on that decision now?

A: "I made the best decision for me. Looking at this organization, where we're trying to go, I think all of us are pretty much on the same page. Each day I'm talking to the people up top, trying to figure out ways to try and get better. The coaching staff, from our trainer, in the weight room the guys are working on our bodies every day just trying to figure out how to get better. That's been our focus.

"After the playoffs this year, we saw a lot of things in ourselves that we needed to change. Since then, I've just been on a mission to do whatever I can to lead this team. Every day, I'm there at 8 am in the weight room with these guys … Running on the track with them, going to the boxing gym with them, just trying to provide leadership. I've been in the league a long time, and even though I played a lot of (meaningful) basketball, this void is still in me. The void of not winning a championship. I want it extremely bad, and I want these guys to have that same kind of motivation and attitude that I have. I think my decision was great. I think it has forced me to really grow up as a man, as a basketball player, a teammate, father, everything. I think this is great for me."

Q: What now, then? You think you can convince LeBron to come your way?

A: "A lot of people have talked about it, but right now my job is to come in here every day and get better and help these young guys grow. That's what I'm doing every day. I want to give those guys (who can be free agents) time to think. They just got finished playing. I know LeBron is really hurt right now. I didn't even think about (calling him). I've talked about it before, but the main thing right now is making sure I'm (keeping) these young guys in line.

Q: What about 'Melo?

A: "I haven't spoken with Melo personally. I know this is a time for him when he has to really just focus on what's going to be best for him. And I really believe that in this point in Melo's career, he just wants to win. He's done everything – we both have that kind of same mentality to where all the individual accolades, we've got them. We've got a gold medal, he has been in tops in scoring for a while, but those are all individual things. I think at this point he just wants to win, so it would be great to have him here because I know what his focus would be. It's up to him, where he's at in his career. But I want people on my team who are all about winning. That's my focus.
"I don't know what (Anthony) is going to do, but he wants to win. So he's going to be looking for a place to go where he can win. He's made enough money. He's done everything. I think he just wants to win right now. That's his only goal. I've always been a Melo fan. One thing he said in an interview a long time ago, I think my first or second year in the league, I remember him saying that if he could play with one guy in the league he would play with Dwight Howard, so you never know. You never know what could happen. Right now, I don't know, but for Melo's sake I just hope he goes somewhere where he feels like he has a chance to win and be successful for the next four or five years of his career.

Q: Does that mean you won't call any of these guys before July 1, then, just let them go through the process?

A: "Probably just let them go through the process. I know for me when I was going through it, talking to a lot of people can really mess you up. It's not really what you want, it's what everybody else feels like is best for you. So I just got away from everything and everybody and really just focused on what I wanted."

Q: Now that you've been in Houston for a year, how do you feel about the decision in terms of quality of life?

A: "I love it. The only problem is the traffic, because I stay 45 minutes outside of Houston. It takes a long time to get home every day, but I enjoy driving so it's pretty much cool with me. But living here has been great. There are some great people here. I've enjoyed my year so far, being in and out of different restaurants, meeting people, going to the movies – that's my favorite pastime. So it's been great. It's been great for me."

Q: There was a lot of talk about how your brand would take a hit by going out there. How are you feeling on that front?

A: "I think all that stuff will change. The biggest thing is just winning. My concern is just winning. That's how you build your brand back. Winning and just dominating on the floor, so that's all I've been thinking about. Basically taking what I did during the playoffs, putting it into 82 games, and then coming up (strong) in the playoffs. That's been on my mind. That's what I've been working on all summer is getting my mind and my body conditioned for a long run."

Q: What specifically needs to change?

A: "I just think our attitude, and it starts with me. My attitude in the playoffs was a little bit different. I had my fun. I joked around, but I've got to make sure that for 48 minutes on the floor I'm dominating. I know people are used to seeing me smiling and having a good time, and I'm going to have a good time, but at the same time I want to win. That's the reason why I play this game. And for so long, I've been ridiculed for having fun on the floor, but I just think I've got to change my approach to certain things – how I am in the locker room, how I am in practice, all that stuff.

"I just think it's a different approach. I'm still going to be myself, and have fun with a smile and joke around with fans. But when it comes to basketball, and what we're trying to accomplish, I'll just have a little bit different approach than in the past. I can go out there and have fun and smile and get 25 points and 20 rebounds. But for our team to win, I can't have that approach. I go out there and dominate, and show them how to do it, because I don't think a lot of guys on our team can have fun like I do and still dominate. I've just got to win, so if I can lead these guys in the right direction, and it starts with me."